The Swedish furniture giant Ikea has reached a $46 million settlement with the family of a two-year-old boy, who was killed after being crushed when an unstable Malm series dresser tipped over on him in May 2017.
The Ikea wrongful death settlement was reached last week with the family of Jozef Dudek, of California, who was killed after a Malm series dresser toppled over onto his neck, causing him to suffocate to death.
According to allegations raised in the case, Ikea failed to properly carry out a recall of millions of Malm series dressers, since the risks associated with the product were first announced in June 2016, after the products had been tied to several tip-over incidents and child deaths.
Since the original recall in June 2016, a total of 35 million Ikea dressers have been removed from the market by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which found that the unstable dressers pose a serious tip-over and entrapment hazard which could result in severe injuries or death to children.
The lawsuit claimed Ikea was aware the chests and dresser did not adhere to the industry’s voluntary stability standards at the time, which required dressers taller than 30 inches to be able to remain stable when a 50 pound weight was hung on an open drawer.
According to Consumer Reports, plaintiffs claimed Ikea was aware the products did not meet the voluntary standards and knew that their instability was linked to several child fatalities, yet did not effectively recall the products, ultimately prolonging the risk of tip-over events to its customers and their children.
The Ikea settlement is believed to be one of the largest claims for wrongful death of a child in U.S. history.
In December 2016, IKEA agreed to pay $50 million to settlement three wrongful death claims brought by the families of three other children who were killed by recalled MALM dressers.
Furniture Tip-Over Risks
Furniture tip-over risks are one of the most common dangers in every home across the nation, and pose a variety of fatal and severe injury hazards to children, such as suffocation and blunt force trauma, according to the CPSC. The agency reports that, on average, a child is sent to the emergency room for a tip-over injury every 24 minutes in America, with approximately 38,000 Americans seen at emergency rooms each year for furniture tip-over hazards.
The severity of injuries that come from tip-over accidents vary from minor scratches and bruising to fatal accidents. The CPSC data indicates the majority of the accidents result in some sort of injury to the head or neck due to children reaching up on dressers and TV stands.
With more than 430 deaths recorded by the CPSC over the last 13 years, the CPSC first launched its “Anchor It” campaign in 2015, which warns parents of the top hidden tip-over hazards in the home and how to take steps to prevent tip-over accidents from occurring.
The CPSC recently issued a product safety warning for consumers to properly anchor Hodedah HI4DR four-drawer dressers to the wall, or a place where children cannot get near them, after recent agency testing determined the products were found to be unstable and can tip over when not anchored.
The warning indicates the Hodedah HI4DR four-drawer dressers were sold at Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Sears.com, and Homedepot.com for between $100 and $200. The dressers measure about 40 inches tall, 27.5 inches wide, and 15.5 inches deep and were sold in beech, mahogany, chocolate, cherry, white, and black colors.
CPSC officials indicated they are continuing to investigate the safety of Hodedah dressers and are pressing the manufacturer to issue a recall.